Probate court is the office where all probate issues are handled. The probate court handles all matters of probate, right from admitting the petition for probate until issuing the order for transfer of property to heirs and beneficiaries.
In most states probate courts function exclusively. [In some states such as Massachusetts, Probate and Family Courts function as one unit with two compartments; Probate and Family Courts take up additional issues such as birth and death, marriage, domestic violence, child abuse, adoption, separation and divorce, maintenance etc].
A typical probate court has a presiding Judge, a supervisor and a few clerical employees.
Let us have a look at the main functions of the probate court.
The court receives the “Petition for letters of administration" if there is no will, and “Petition for Probate of Will and Letters Testamentary" otherwise. These and the death certificate are submitted along with the prescribed fee. Probate court cases can be filed with or without an attorney.
Then the Judge conducts probate hearings, and issues “"letters of administration"" [or “letters" as they are also called], to administer the estate or to admit and execute the will.
When necessary, the judge holds hearings and clarifies queries raised by issuing written directions called “"orders"".
Wills validation: Based on the court appointed executor’s [or the decedent-nominated personal representative’s] papers, the court will verify whether the will was written by the decedent himself and that all rules and ethics have been followed when preparing the will. Then it will validate the will.
Estate administration: Based on the court appointed administrator’s papers of submission, the court will identify, inventory and appraise all the properties.
Guardianships of Minors or mentally ill: If the heirs are minors or mentally ill, the court appoints a guardian for them.
General Petitions: It will review and hear when needed, all the petitions involved in probate. It includes petition from heirs, creditors and any one who is involved in the process.
The probate court administers, through the personal representative, the sale of real estate, tangible property [vehicle, jewelry etc] and intangible property [stocks and shares, equities etc]. It records the total assets of the decedents. Let’s call these total assets “A".
Then it oversees the payment of taxes, money etc. to be paid by the decedent to the government or to creditors. Let’s call the total taxes and money paid to creditors as “B".
Then it oversees the inventory of the decedent’s remaining assets [A – B from above], validates and issues an order to the personal representative to complete the probate.
Based on this, the personal representative disburses the assets and obtains the Receipts and Waivers, and files the Declaration of Completion of Probate to the Court. Thus concludes the probate process.
Probate Court also provides general information on probating process, probate records (including will and genealogy searches) and all other relevant information to the end-user.
Probate courts generally work from 8 AM to 5 PM on all days except weekends and public holidays.
Probate provides detailed information about probate, how to avoid probate, probate court, probate law and more. Probate is the sister site of Free Last Will And Testament Packages .